Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Introductory Post

Earlier this week, I started a blog entry posted on my personal blog Kate, Katie, Susan, and Sue about my desire to learn to cook new recipes and try new dishes. Reading Kathleen Flinn's wonderful book The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry was the impetus to get me off my rear end and actually start cooking. My first dish was coq au vin, which I documented in great detail over there.

Several people email and commented on my Facebook page as to how much they enjoyed reading about my experience with French cooking. Three or four even mentioned the book Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I thought about attempting a similar feat, as I really enjoyed preparing the coq au vin, but then I thought, the French cooking thing has been done before. And almost unbidden, my brain thought, "Let's make it world cuisine!"

My husband, Michael, and I are not the world's most adventurous eaters. I would say I am slightly more adventurous than he is in certain respects--he does not do vegetables and most fish, and prefers when food is simple and unfussy. By which of course I mean the man could eat off fish sticks, hot dogs, and pizza quite happily the rest of his life.

For my part, I am not too keen on fish, any meat besides beef, pork, chicken, or turkey, most cheese and dairy products, eggs, and I don't tend to do much with veggies that aren't frozen or fruit, although I like to eat fruit. I just don't tend to eat much of it and I almost never cook with it.

The last year or so, I've been dying to expand our culinary horizons, however. There are foods I want to cook with, such exotic things as coconut milk (ooooh!), curry powder (ahhh!), and phyllo dough (to be honest, I did try a recipe this year with phyllo dough and it was AWFUL!).

So we are going to drag ourselves kicking and screaming into the world of international cuisine. I hope to make a minimum of 80 dishes this year from every continent of the globe. What I'm going to accomplish from Antartica, I do not know, since I've only found a site with seal brains and penguin steaks thus far and have little intention of getting quite that adventurous. I do have a friend who lived there as part of her service in the military, so maybe she'll have some ideas.

So, our first country is over and done, France has been conquered. We do plan on making quiche and may find it within ourselves to make a souffle, however, something I've always wanted to do.

If you have a request for a specific country or recipe you'd like me to dish up, kindly drop me an email at k a t i e c h e e s e (a t) g m a i l (d o t) c o m and include a country, dish, and recipe if you've got one. I've already got one request for Malta, so stay tuned for that, and this weekend I'll be attempting to cover Russia, Poland (our annual Eastern European dinner is Saturday night), and Spain (my book club is having a tapas night on Monday).

Michael and I sat down and discussed a few ground rules tonight. The following foods are strictly verboten:

* Bananas and plantains
* Organ meats (liver, kidneys, sweetmeats, etc)
* Salmon (other fish will be discussed on a case-by-case basis--neither of us likes that fishy taste of fish, which makes eating fish a challenge. And don't tell me I won't be able to taste it once I've made the recipe--I get that all the time with coffee, which I also HATE and can taste even trace amounts of, thank you!)
* Rabbit

I'm also not killing any live animals (I.E. a lobster). If you have a lobster dish you'd like me to try, it better be something where I can have the nice man at the grocery store kill the lobster for me before I have to do anything with it. Yeah, I'm a pansy, what can I say!?

Other than that, I'd say we're game for pretty much anything. I'm going to be getting in touch with my foreign contacts in such places as Ecuador and Morocco to get some recipes and ideas. I have a couple of international cookbooks, and have been searching the web for ideas as well. I won't post recipes here if the recipes appear in book form or are in any other way copyrighted (i.e. on the Food Network site). I will post recipes if it doesn't appear to me that I'd get in trouble for doing so.

So, happy reading, and maybe you'll even get ideas here for things you'd like to try! I'd love hearing from you!

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